Sex and the Courtroom (Indonesia)

I’ve always said Indonesians are some of the most creative politicians in the world when it comes to corruption. The DPR is drafting a new bribery law, and several commentators, including Constitutional Court Chief Justice Mahfud MD, argue that the law should include sexual favors within the definition of bribery. According to Mahfud’s comments in The Jakarta Globe, businesses and politicians have employed mistresses and prostitutes as lobbyists.

Mahfud acknowledges that prosecuting “sexual bribery” will be difficult. However, he doesn’t ever suggest that there would be a constitutional problem with including “sexual bribery” in the law. Of course, this raises the question of why Mahfud is commenting on the law. Given public outrage over corruption, one can’t help but wonder if this is another instance of Mahfud positioning himself for a presidential run.

However, some judges are clearly not running for popularity contests. Daming Sunusi, a judge from Banjarmasin, East Kalimantan, recently appeared in the DPR for his “fit and proper” test. According to The Jakarta Post, when asked about the death penalty for rapists, he cautioned, “Both the victims of rape and the rapist might have enjoyed their intercourse together, so we should think twice before handing down the death penalty.” Perhaps it’s wise that U.S. Supreme Court nominees remain absolutely silent when appearing before the Senate.

UPDATE (1/16/12): According to The Jakarta Post, it looks like the Judiciary Commission is not only not recommending Daming Sunusi for the Supreme Court, but also investigating whether he violated judicial ethics with his rape comments.

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